Imagine a world where every single human being belongs. This is a world where we each have our place. It’s a world where we each make our unique contribution, knowing we’re part of a collective group, a community, a species, a planet, a whole.
Imagine that in this world every person has something to share with others that’s of value. Each person is unique and the value they have to share will be valuable to some of the other people. No one is of value to all people and no one is of value to nobody.
In this world, we each have a different role which depends on our skills, capabilities, interests, curiosity, experience and capacity. Some roles may have more responsibility, others have less. Some roles may influence more people, others less. Some roles may be very public, others are very private.
But the key to this world is that no individual human being is more important than any other. Being bigger doesn’t make you more important, it only makes you bigger.
It’s like nature. If you imagine an ecosystem where there are trees and plants and creatures of all different sizes. The tree is bigger than the bee. The bee is smaller than the tree. They each have their unique role in the ecosystem. The tree is neither more important nor less important than the bee and vice versa. Each one fulfils its own role supporting the entire ecosystem.
In this world, a different economy emerges. I call it the Mosaic Economy, inspired by the book, The Mosaic, by my friend Danny Levin. In a mosaic, every tile has its place. There’s room for bigger and smaller tiles, tiles that are chipped and broken in all different shapes, different colours and patterns, and different ways of fitting together. Even tile dust may form part of the grout.
In the Mosaic economy, every individual human being plays a part. The more precisely we’re able to play our unique individual parts, and not meddle and interfere with everybody else’s parts, the more beautiful mosaic may be formed.
In this economy, there’s room for so many different roles and expressions of being human. There’s room for many different sizes and shapes. There’s room for every conceivable colour and origin story. There’s room for every level of ability. There’s room for extraordinary unique talents and common everyday skills. There’s room for creativity and for repeatability. There’s room for uniqueness as much as for processes and procedures.
What makes this economy so special is that nobody is more important or less important than anybody else. One person may be a natural leader and influence many other people in the economy. Another person may have a very private role where they only connect with a few individuals. But the leader is not more important. They just happen to be a leader. The private individual is not less important or less significant. They just operate in a different way.
In recent years we’ve come to understand how very important the bee is in supporting the entire ecosystem on the planet. It’s such a small creature. So many bees die every single day. The bee is a worker, not a profoundly creative individual, as far as we can see. Yet the bee’s role, of which it’s unlikely to be aware, is so hugely significant in enabling almost all plants to be pollinated.
We’re only beginning to understand the interconnectedness of species on our planet. The bee has come into focus because of the threat to its existence and therefore to the existence of our ecosystem. We’ve hardly started to understand what would change if we appreciated every single member of our species, let alone other species as well.
What role is that person playing who you’ve never met on a distant continent? What significance is the farmer in Ethiopia who’s rescued his land from desertification? What significance is that child singing a song in a favela in Rio de Janeiro? What about the Chinese businesswoman negotiating contracts in her busy office? Or the aboriginal elder sharing wisdom with the younger generations? Or the Welsh miner singing in a choir? Or the Russian mum trying to earn a living and keep our children healthy and safe?
What would our economy look like if we found ways to value every member of our society? What would it look like if every member of our society knew his or her value and was able to share it with others in a way that enriches both their lives and brings benefit to both parties? What would it look like if the powerful leaders really knew and understood that they’re no more important than anyone else in the world? And if the people who deem themselves to be insignificant and small knew that they were as important as everybody else on this planet?
I believe it’s possible for us to live like this. I believe it’s a better way for us, a way that’s more suited to human life. There’s never been a better time than now for creating an economy that works for all.
I have made a decision and a commitment to contributing to the growth of the Mosaic Economy. It’s my intention that my work is a part of this economy and makes it possible for others to participate in it fully and wholeheartedly.
The Mosaic Economy: Photo by Giulia May on Unsplash